An adequate educational evaluation enhances instruction. Just as evaluation impacts student learning and motivation, it also influences the nature of instruction in the classroom. There has been considerable recent literature that has promoted evaluation as something that is integrated with instruction. To her, when evaluation is integrated with instruction it informs teachers about what activities and assignments will be most useful, what level of teaching is most appropriate, and how summative evaluations provide diagnostic information. For instance, during instruction activities informal, formative evaluation helps teachers know when to move on, when to ask more questions, when to give more examples, and what responses to student questions are most appropriate. Standardized test scores, when used appropriately, help teachers understand student strengths and weaknesses to target further instruction.
Good assessment is valid and considers validity as a concept that needs to be fully understood. Like reliability, there are technical terms and issues associated with validity that are essential in helping teachers and administrators make reasonable and appropriate inferences from evaluation results (e.g., types of validity evidence, validity generalization, construct underrepresentation, construct-irrelevant variance, and discriminant and convergent evidence). Both intended and unintended consequences of evaluation need to be examined with appropriate evidence that supports particular arguments or points of view. Of equal importance is getting teachers and administrators to understand their role in gathering and interpreting validity evidence.
Good evaluation is fair and ethical and there are four views of fairness: as absence of bias (e.g., offensiveness and unfair penalization), as equitable treatment, as equality in outcomes, and as opportunity to learn. It includes entire chapters on the rights and responsibilities of test takers, testing individuals of diverse linguistic backgrounds, and testing individuals with disabilities or special needs.
According to his text, there are also three additional areas characterized as also important:
Student knowledge of learning targets and the nature of the evaluations prior to instruction (e.g., knowing what will be tested, how it will be graded, scoring criteria, anchors, exemplars, and examples of performance).
- Student prerequisite knowledge and skills, including test-taking skills.
- Avoiding stereotypes.
Evaluation that is fair, leading to valid inferences with a minimum of error, is a series of measures that show student understanding through multiple methods. A complete picture of what students understand and can do is put together in pieces comprised by different approaches to evaluation. While testing experts and testing companies stress that important decisions should not be made on the basis of a single test score, some educators at the local level, and some (many?) politicians at the state at the national level, seem determined to violate this principle. There is a need to understand the entire range of evaluation techniques and methods, with the realization that each has limitations.
Good evaluation is efficient and feasible. Teachers and school administrators have limited time and resources. Consideration must be given to the efficiency of different approaches to evaluation, balancing needs to implement methods required to provide a full understanding with the time needed to develop and implement the methods, and score results. Teacher skills and knowledge are important to consider, as well as the level of support and resources.
We may consider a lot the importance in the fact of good evaluation appropriately incorporates technology. As technology advances and teachers become more proficient in the use of technology, there will be increased opportunities for teachers and administrators to use computer-based techniques (e.g., item banks, electronic grading, computer-adapted testing, computer-based simulations), Internet resources, and more complex, detailed ways of reporting results. There is to him, however, a danger that technology will contribute to the mindless use of new resources, such as using items on-line developed by some companies without adequate evidence of reliability, validity, and fairness, and crunching numbers with software programs without sufficient thought about weighting, error, and averaging.
To summarize, what is most essential about evaluation is understanding how general, fundamental evaluation principles and ideas can be used to enhance student learning and teacher effectiveness. This will be achieved as teachers and administrators learn about conceptual and technical evaluation concepts, methods, and procedures, for both large-scale and classroom evaluations, and apply these fundamentals to instruction.
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